Generosity, Extravagance, Health Care, Compassion

Isn’t the extravagance of nature better news, than the hoarding of opportunities for others? And throwing people off Medicaid, which is happening now in many states?

Health Care Can’t Wait: A hearing at the Service Employees International Union, Local 1199. Photo by ProgressOhio. Wikimedia Commons.

Yesterday’s headlines tell us that more than 1.5 million persons—including families with kids—were dropped from Medicaid recently, as states purge rolls after the pandemic. Most got dropped for not filing paperwork. Florida has dropped by far the most, many hundreds of thousands of people. Other states include Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakotas, Utah, and West Virginia.*

Statistics tell us that today 1 in 4 Americans cannot afford the cost of the medications their doctors prescribe. Bernie Sanders relates this situation to the greed of pharmaceutical companies, which make “much higher profit margins than any other industry.” He calls it a “horrifying, barbaric and dysfunctional system” made all the worse because taxpayers subsidize the research and development enjoyed by these companies.

Bernie Sanders speaks on the injustice of the pharmaceutical industry. Video by NBC News.

Fifty top executives in the pharmaceutical companies took home over $1.5 billion in compensation and stock awards last year. Some companies charge $200,000 for a treatment for a product that costs them a few hundred dollars to manufacture.

This is a far cry from compassion or interconnectivity which, like extravagance, is how the universe works.   

The Sri Yantra, a symbol from Hinduism, represents the flow of energy in the universe and the interconnectivity of all things. Diagram by N. Manytchkine. Wikimedia Commons.

Interconnectivity is now understood as a basic law or habit in our universe. A supernova explosion birthed the elements in our bodies. The molecules of blood in our bodies are identical to the chlorophyll in green plants, save for one atom of iron substituting for an atom of magnesium. The gravity that has me sitting in my chair is also moving planets and galaxies in the farthest distance of the universe, one trillion galaxies away. Spend twenty-five minutes in a room with others, and you are all breathing in one another’s water vapor. Breathe deeply and you are inhaling at least one molecule of air that Jesus breathed on earth, or Mohammed or Sojourner Truth or….

Today’s science tells many stories about interconnectivity which translate into a moral law for humans. As Thomas Merton teaches: “the whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living things, which are all part of one another and all involved in one another.”

Compassion is born of interconnectivity, the cosmic law of responding to another’s pain and suffering, joy and celebration as one’s own. How are we doing?


Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion 

And Fox, Liberating Gifts For the Peoples of the Earth, p. 45.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE

Banner Image: The earliest known star, Earendel, in the Deep Space Field as captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. Photo by NASA/ESA/CSA/STS. Wikimedia Commons.

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10 thoughts on “Generosity, Extravagance, Health Care, Compassion”

  1. Avatar

    Are people aware that the inability to access affordable pharmaceuticals causes an untold magnitude of death and suffering that far exceeds that from gun violence. Figuratively speaking, and not meant to diminish the magnitude of those millions that died at the hands of the Nazis in WWII, but the inability to access drugs to control, say diabetes is similar to putting those sufferers on ‘a train to a death camp’. Blindness, amputation and death are the eventualities. And just hear and read the stories of others that are unjustly denied medications to treat their illnesses, suffering, quality of life and the end resulting effects. Yes, the populace is being divided into camps and the populace is also being held for ‘ransom’ in this regard. Pay the ransom or suffer and die. Tell us it is not so. — BB.

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Harsh realities of human capability for harm and destruction. Extremely sad that excessive profit is the overriding goal. Thank you for your sobering sharing. Wakes up in us the desire to connect and to create alternative possibilities.

  2. Avatar

    It’s so very sad realizing that human suffering continues around the world for so many people, including the US, and Sacred Mother Earth and all her living species due to social inequities/disparities caused by the historical and continued toxic, destructive, sinful, unbalanced patriarchal beliefs/values/actions in our personal and societal lives and institutions such as egocentricity (which leads to ignorance, greed, racism, violence, materialism, …).
    Fortunately, there have also always been good people who have maintained their faith, goodness, forgiveness, compassion, and Truth/Justice work with our fellow sisters, brothers, and Mother Earth guided and strengthened by our Loving Co-Creator~Source’s Divine Spirit of Love~Wisdom~Peace~Justice~Healing~Freedom~Transformation~Creativity~Beauty~Joy~
    Compassion… Present within, through, among us in our daily human lives with one another…
    Our eternal Souls are still evolving with-in God’s Spirit of Loving Diverse Oneness and co-Creation~Evolution in the Cosmos….

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Thank you, Damian, for stating your sadness and compassion. Also, for the reminder that there are people like you and us who do care and search for opportunities, create possibilities to wake us all up to the suffering of those who are often silent due to illness.

  3. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    The reality of interdependence can be responded to either in the light or reacted to in the dark. In the light it is responded to with love, compassion and mercy, doing what can be done to alleviate the suffering and pain of others, with the focus being on meeting the needs of the other, responding in solidarity… Oned With the all.

    In the dark it is reacted to with power over, through taking advantage of the suffering and pain of others, with the focus being on personal gain, influenced by the illusion of being seperated from the all.

    The choice of response is either guided by the open heartedness of the Spirit/Soul aspect of Self or reacted to by the influence of the armoured closed heartedness of the ego.

    The cosmic law of interdependence and the reality of this remains, either way. However, how we choose to respond or react… either creatively manifests as the light of love, compassion and mercy; in response to being Oned With the pain and suffering of others… or either destructively manifests as the darkness of selfishness, greed, and advantageous manipulation of the pain and suffering of others for personal gain, entangled in the illusion of seperation.

    What we choose literally matters, for it manifests… either the light or the dark!

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Jeanette, thank you for articulating the Light and the Dark responses to suffering and hardship. Helpful ways of approaching possibilities when seeking a way to do something compassionate for another. One-ing and Separation. The Light and the Darkness. Our Choice-yes.

  4. Avatar

    The internet was supposed to be a miraculous tool for humans around the world to interconnect and share their wisdom. Then it was all monetized and re-organized into a tool of greed and power by the elites. The world was re-shuffled and sorted into targeted, isolated, paranoid and hostile mini-worlds of precisely similar-thinking “believers,” each of whom were expected to police and defend their tribe of like-minded citizens. Slight differences were pounced on and turned into proofs of horrific betrayal. Each camp solidified its core, required-to-be-one-of-us beliefs, chiseled them into stone. Our world has been sorted into armed ideological strongholds, while elites profit from that fracturing at every intersection.

    We lost the awareness of community, the sense that a group of immensely varied people all MUST co-exist in a peaceful, mutually helping community, even if, or precisely BECAUSE we are each uniquely different from each other, celebrating variety and community in sharing and mutual support. Sometimes we’re reminded of that during a local crisis, when we forget our differences and re-discover our joint humanity, but it shouldn’t take a disaster to smack us in the heads with this Truth. We need to loudly, strongly reinforce this message, to resist the splintering, profiteering, elites’-self-serving algorithms and power structures that chain us into our isolating, defensive war tribes. We need to remember that we need each other, always.

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Thank you, Melinda, for your sobering words. Yes, we need one another. Sometimes – as you say – we are taught this lesson in times of crises.

  5. Avatar

    Matthew’s comments about polio jibe with my memories; in 1955, the last year of the epidemic, I contracted it and was left paralyzed and spent months and months in the hospital. My parents had little money, nor did the parents of most of the children, but there was not one word about it, the Polio Foundation paid for most of us, and there was not one word about early discharge because of lack of insurance. This is the complete reverse of today. Bill is absolutely correct about the death rate from lack of medications and other health care–it is staggering. The Poor People’s Campaign has made that point over and over, that poverty kills more people than more recognized “diseases”. In many ways, we have become the stiff-necked and heartless people that the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures railed against, and we violate the great commandment from Jesus over and over again. Since this country seems to be hell-bent on self-destruction, all we can do is be as generous and loving as we can be in our own lives and interconnections and continue to speak truth to power and act peacefully for change. The latter is becoming more and more risky, as in Florida and many other states free speech in confined to toeing the party line. Open disagreement from a public person invites removal from office, even of elected officials.

    1. Avatar
      Carol Vaccariello

      Yes, your observations are sobering. We all have a lot to do and need to show up in ways that each of us can. The energies around us can overwhelm. This is not a time to be silent or complacent. We each need to find our style of showing up.
      Thank you, Sue.

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